Kolhapuri chicken is another dish that comes with a story for me.
The second time I visited India with Jay was nearly ten years ago now and at that age we thought a road trip would be extremely romantic.
As we wanted to return to Goa we thought we’d make that our destination, after all, how long can Mumbai-Goa be?
We carefully planned our trip, with the descent on the coast – driving through ghats I still have nightmares about – and the return inland, through Belgaum, Kolhapur, Satara, and Pune.
Although the ride back wasn’t as smooth as we wanted – as it ‘obviously’ got really long, hot, and unlucky (had to change two tires along the way… luckily we were close to a garage when the second one happened!), it still carries many great memories.
On the way down we stopped in a Dhaba to have lunch with eggs bhurji and toast, we stretched our legs in little villages and had chai with the locals, but as mentioned before, the way up, back to Mumbai was the fun part!
We had mangoes (and bought some back to my in-laws) in Belgaum, asked so many times ‘’Bhaisaab, Mumbai kider hai?’’ (This is my level of Hindi if you were wondering) and it was always straight ahead (no matter where we were!) and had a great lunch on the highway, close to Kolhapur (apparently I had to see Kolhapuri chappals!) and it was great.
No kidding, one of the best curries I had and there was no way I would not try to cook this at home… and I’m glad to say, it does taste just as nice!
~~ Looking for a traditional chicken curry that is not as hot? Try this delicious Butter Chicken!
Let’s talk nutrition!
Coconut and chicken are widely spoken about and I have written about them in the section ‘Let’s talk nutrition’ in the following recipe posts:
1 – Chicken thighs in this Chicken Biryani recipe
2 – Coconut in this Vegan Potato Curry (Aloo Mappas) recipe
What I would like to explore further in this article is the chili, the humble, spicy chili, and its nutritional benefit.
Chili peppers are known for their hot taste and are often associated with Indian, Mexican, and Southeast Asian food (as well as Southern Italy as they are supposed to bring luck!); chilies are part of the nightshade family and are closely related to tomatoes and peppers.
Chili peppers are rich in nutrients and minerals, however, as we consume very little quantities because of their powerful taste, we do not get to enjoy the benefits; nevertheless, these are rich in Vitamins A, B-6, and K-1 as well as potassium and copper.
The main known ingredient in these is capsaicin, which is responsible for their pungent strong flavor as well as most of their health effects; capsaicin binds with pain receptors in our body, which are the nerve endings that sense pain, making us feel a burning sensation, without actually causing any burning injuries.
However, high consumption of chili peppers may remove sensitivity from the pain receptors, reducing overtime one’s ability to sense the burning flavor of chilies.
Multiple studies (of small numbers of people) have linked chili peppers to weight loss, as capsaicin may reduce appetite and increase fat burning, however it is important to note that such benefits may be felt only when accompanied with a healthy lifestyle and that only adding chili to one’s diet won’t necessarily mean weight loss.
It is important to note that consumption of chilies may cause diarrhea or stomach pain in some individuals.
What is chicken Kolhapuri?
Kolhapuri curries are known for their spicy, rich flavor and this curry is nothing less.
Kolhapuri masala is rich in a variety of spices, such as green and black cardamom, cloves, and sesame seeds, as well as grated coconut and, famously, dry red chilies.
How to make Kolhapuri Chicken Masala?
Kolhapuri chicken masala has many ingredients, yet it is very easy to prepare!
Starting with a large pan, one should start by roasting some grated coconut; after a couple of minutes, while always mixing the coconut to stop it from burning or over-roasting, a cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, green and black cardamom, and star aniseed are added.
After mixing a bit longer, sesame seeds, peppercorns, and poppy seeds are added and after a further minute or so, cloves, mace and bay leaves.
Once all of the above are toasted, they should be put on the side and the dry red chilies can then be roasted in the same pan.
Once the dry red chilies are ready, they can be added to the other spices and they can then all be ground together in an upside-down blender or grinder.
Once you have a smooth powder, you have your own homemade masala for Kolhapuri chicken curry!
~~ Love making your own homemade masala? Try this fantastic, authentic eggplant curry!
How to make chicken Kolhapuri?
How to make a chicken curry that is flavorful, easy, and weight-loss friendy?
This Indian chicken curry recipe is as easy as it comes once you have your homemade masala ready!
Marinate your chicken pieces in some lemon and ginger garlic paste for about half an hour, before adding some Kolhapuri chicken masala (if you follow this recipe, use about one-third to half the masala) and setting aside to fully marinate.
Start preparing the curry base by lightly browning some finely chopped onions in a bit of vegetable oil (any flavorless vegetable oil – I use sunflower); once the onions are golden-brown, add the ginger garlic paste and fry.
Once the smell of rawness of garlic has gone, add some turmeric and cook the spice.
Once the turmeric starts separating from the oil, add the marinated chicken pieces and brown all around; once the chicken is well seared, add the rest of the homemade masala you prepared and cook.
Once these spices start separating as well, add some grated nutmeg.
The next step is to add some fresh coriander, salt, and water, mix well and allow the chili coconut chicken curry to simmer for about 15 minutes on a low flame, or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
Once the chicken is cooked, serve it with some lemon juice and fresh coriander on top!
Marinate the chicken
Prepare Kolhapuri Chicken Curry
How to make veg Kolhapuri?
To make this recipe vegetarian you can follow the same recipe as per the chicken, but substitute vegetables in it.
These won’t need to be marinated and they can be put in the curry at the same point as the chicken would be added.
It is very common to prepare this vegetarian (and vegan, therefore) curry with mixed vegetables, such as peas, carrots, more onions, green beans, and potatoes, however also tomatoes, bell peppers, cabbage, and cauliflower add great flavor and texture to this recipe.
~~ Looking for a delicious vegan curry recipe? These Punjabi Chole are game!
What to serve this Kolhapuri chicken curry with?
One thing I know is that Maharashtrians like their chapattis and I do love this with chapattis!
Other great options are pulao rice, whole wheat parathas, or thin naan bread.
For a lower calorie (and carbohydrate) option, serve with some cauliflower rice or simple, boiled cauliflower served with a tiny bit of salt and oil; this is a very flavorful and filling option while lowering the calories eaten during the meal.
Try this great, great recipe and you will go back to it over and over again!
This Kolhapuri Chicken Curry Recipe is easy, weight-loss-friendly, tasty and it gets even better the day after when the spices have time to even further penetrate the chicken!
It is a great Indian curry to have on hand if you like to do meal prep during the weekend, yet so tasty you can serve it to guests and they won’t believe that you didn’t get it from the restaurant.
Enjoy this… I feel like I am back in Kolhapur when eating it, I’m sure you will too!
~~ Want a Quick and Easy Chicken Recipe? Try this 30-Minute Easy Chicken Curry!
For the Kolhapuri Masala
- 60 g 2 oz Grated Coconut
- ½ inch Cinnamon Stick
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 Green Cardamoms
- 1 Black Cardamom
- 1 Star Aniseed
- 5 Cloves
- 1 Blade of Mace
- 1 tsp Poppy Seeds
- 1 tsp Sesame Seeds I used black
- 5 Peppercorns
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 6 Dry Red Chilies
For the first marinade
- 300-350 g 11 oz Chicken, mixed chunks of thighs and drums
- 1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
For the curry
- 3 tbsp Sunflower Oil or any unflavored vegetable oil
- 2 Medium Onions Thinly Chopped
- 1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- ½ tsp Nutmeg Grated Powder
- 30 g 1 oz Fresh Coriander, Washed and Finely Chopped
- Lemon wedges for serving
- After chopping the thighs and drums of chicken in cubes about 3cm x 3cm (1-inch x 1 inch), add it to a bowl and marinate it with the lemon and ginger garlic paste, and set aside for about half an hour.
Prepare the homemade Kolhapuri Masala
- It is important to have all the ingredients for the masala ready when starting this step, as they need to be added quite quickly to ensure none of these get burnt in the process.
- Warm-up a large frying pan on medium heat; once warm add the grated coconut and stir well. Coconut is rich in oil, so you want to ensure you keep an eye on it while you roast it on the pan, as it can quickly overcook and burn.
- After a couple of minutes, once the edges of the coconut shreds start turning golden, add the green and black cardamom, cinnamon, cumin seeds, and star aniseed to the pan and mix well.
- After a minute, to a minute and a half, the spices will start emitting their smell; at this point add poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and peppercorn and mix well again.
- After a further minute and a half, add the mace, cloves, and bay leaf and keep on mixing for a further two minutes, ensuring no spice gets burn.
- If you see some spices are cooking too quickly, reduce the heat under the pan while you keep stirring the ingredients.
- Once all the spices are fragrant, remove them from the pan and put them on a large flat plate, spreading them out so the heat can escape.
- In the same pan, keeping it warm, add the dry red chilies and allow them to become fragrant, without burning; the chilies are ready when they are crunchy, but do not become much darker.
- Set the chilies aside with the other spices and allow them to cool down for about ten minutes, then grind until you have a fine powder.
- Your homemade Kolhapuri chicken masala is ready.
- Add half of the homemade Kolhapuri chicken masala to the chicken and mix well, then cover and allow the chicken to further marinate for another half an hour.
Start preparing the curry
- In a large pan, add the sunflower oil and allow to heat up on a low to medium flame; once the oil is warm add the thinly chopped onion and a pinch of salt (adding the salt allows the onions to cook quicker) and mix well.
- Once the onions are golden, add the ginger garlic paste and mix well; allow the ginger garlic paste to lightly cook and fry until the smell of rawness of the garlic has gone, which will take about two minutes.
- At this stage, add the turmeric and mix well; allow the turmeric to cook for about thirty seconds until it starts separating from the oil.
- Add the chicken and allow it to sear thoroughly, mixing it in the pan.
- Once the chicken has browned all over, add the rest of the homemade masala, mix and allow it to cook as well; this will take about two minutes until the spices start separating from the oil.
- Once the spices are ready, add the nutmeg and mix well again.
- After a further thirty seconds, add half of the thinly chopped coriander (try using the part where the stems are), a bit of salt, and about 500ml (1 pint) of water and bring it to a boil; once the curry is simmering, put a lid on the pan and reduce the heat to low, just to keep the curry lightly bulling away.
- Allow the chicken to cook for about 15 minutes, or until done, then remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
- Serve the homemade Kolhapuri chicken curry with some lemon wedges and the remaining coriander sprinkled on top. Enjoy!